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Tips on Using Grey Water

If you can be choosy about the gray water you recycle on your garden, then use shower and bathtub water first, followed in decreasing order of desirability by water from the bathroom sink, utility sink, washing machine, kitchen sink and dishwasher. Water from the kitchen sink and dishwasher is not desirable because of the larger proportion of grease, food particles and other materials it will contain. If there is no way you can avoid using water from the kitchen sink and dishwasher, try to limit the amount of grease and solid food particles that go down the drain. Do not recycle water from a washing machine that has been used to wash baby diapers, because it may contain fecal matter. Soaps and detergents are biodegradable, but they can present problems when gray water is used over an extended period. The main problem with most cleaning agents is that they contain sodium, which, if present in excessive amounts, can damage the soil structure, create an alkaline condition, and also damage plants. Avoid detergents that advertise "softening power,€

because they will have a large proportion of sodium-based compounds. The phosphates in detergents can be good for plant growth, but unfortunately, the detergents highest in phosphates usually contain the greatest amount of sodium. If you reuse washing-machine water, cut down or eliminate the amount of bleach you use and do not use detergents or additives that contain boron, which is especially toxic to plants. When doing your household cleaning, use ammonia or products that contain ammonia, instead of chlorine, as the cleaning agent.